I fall in love over the Internet regularly, maybe every week. Usually it’s a crush I develop based on someone’s writing or opinions. These are passing flings, short-lived obsessions, wherein I’ll read everything the person has written online until I’m convinced we were meant to be, that if I were to fly to whatever city the writer resides in and email them to suggest coffee, or maybe a drink, we’d meet and that would be that. Whether the writer is male or female, straight or gay, single or attached, makes no matter. It could be an intellectual love, you know, where we are just the bestest of friends and spend our time making witty remarks and sipping juleps.
But eventually the crush fades. Usually it’s because I read something that shows the writer isn’t quite my soul mate: maybe he is a Republican, or doesn’t adore the writing of Donald E. Westlake, or thinks the later albums by R.E.M. are superior to the early ones. Sometimes I grow weary of him, his limited range of topics or his repeated references to past successes. I keep him/her on my roster of people to follow, and a few days later I find myself crushing on someone new.
I tried Internet dating for a few years, with limited success. But after exchanging hundreds of emails describing my own quirks and asking about those of others, meeting dozens of men over coffee, dating a few fellows, and again and again running eventually, inevitably out of things to say, I have sworn it off.
Only once did I find lasting love over the Internet. And that love was with a cat.
One of my lead motivations in buying a house was to have pets. Cats, dogs, gerbils, didn’t matter — some kind of critter that would run around and look at me adoringly. For the first year I had the house I travelled too much to take in a new pet, but eventually I started checking out the websites of local animal shelters. On the site of the Butler Humane Society was a photo of a pale gray tabby with pretty eyes. I cut out from work early and visited the shelter, worried that the website was out-of-date and the animals pictured on it long gone. But there she was, in a small cage in the corner of the cat room. To seal it all, she poked out a paw to grab me. I went home, bought everything a cat needs to survive, and returned the next day to find her still waiting.
So lasting love can be found over the Internet after all. You only have to know where to look.